“Gee, I wish I had been a little bit nicer. When a headhunter called me yesterday.”
Be polite when the headhunter calls. Headhunters fine job candidates for their clients, the employers. Retainer-based companies get paid upfront by the client. Contingency firms are paid when they find the right person.
Handling a call from a headhunter… there are two types of calls. One is a reference call, and the other is a recruitment call.
If a recruiter calls you to recommend other candidates, be cooperative. The recruiter would give you a thumbnail sketch of the search being conducted and asked you to recommend people as qualified candidates. This is a reference call.
The phone call is to find out if you’re interested in becoming a candidate and it is rarely a cold call, but it can be. This call could be called the” mating dance”, particularly if you’re employed and not actively looking.
Of course, the old cliché still holds true, “the best time to look for a new position is when you have one, the worst time is when you really need one.”
You should respond by asking that information be sent to you and have time to think about it. Be professional and courteous remember, there’s no such thing as lifetime employment.
If you treat a headhunter/recruiter/executive search consultant, whatever you want to call them, in a helpful professional way, they will respond in kind. By doing this, you may be assisting your own career.